Curran's knee-jerk reactions to Day 1 of free agency

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Curran's knee-jerk reactions to Day 1 of free agency

1. The Patriots traditionally tread lightly at the start of free agency. Last season was an exception. But the compressed offseason was a big reason for that as New England grabbed Chad Ochocinco and Albert Haynesworth. When the Patriots signed Rosevelt Colvin and Rodney Harrison back in 2003, both were brought aboard nearly a week after free agency opened. Adalius Thomas? He was signed the day after free agency opened. Clearly, the Patriots tend to let the water settle a bit in most cases.

2. Speaking of Adalius Thomas, the contract given to Seattle defensive tackle Red Bryant on Tuesday was the same as the one AD signed back in 2007 - five years and 35 million. Bryant got 14.5M guaranteed; Thomas got 20M.

3. Suffice to say this Tuesday didn't make it any easier on the Patriots when it comes to getting Wes Welker a new contract by July 15. Vincent Jackson got a five-year, 55.5M deal from the Bucs with 36M coming to him in the first three years. Pierre Garcon got five years and 42.5 million with 20.5 guaranteed. Marques Colston got five years and 40 million. Former Niners wideout Josh Morgan got a five-year deal that could convert to a two-year, 12 million deal. In other words, players who haven't been as productive as Welker are getting 8 million per with 20M or more guaranteed. It makes the ballpark figure of four years, 32 million with 20M guaranteed for Welker seem that much more reasonable a request. It could make him seek even more.

4. Brandon Lloyd, meanwhile, has gone to radio silence. Given the fact the Patriots like to do their business verrrry quietly - and that's a request they make of players they're speaking with - the less you hear from and about Lloyd, the more likely he is to be in talks with New England. And what will he and agent Tom Condon agree to becomes clouded as well with similar players getting 8 million per season.

5. Given the number of wideouts the Redskins have signed or gone after - Garcon, Morgan and Eddie Royal - it would seem that Jabar Gaffney is going to be on the outside looking in down in Washington. An effort by the Patriots to bring back "Jab", one of Tom Brady's preferred targets, seems quite likely.

6. Adam Carriker, who seemed a really nice, versatile fit on the defensive line for the Patriots didn't even get out of the Redskins sight. He was re-signed to a four-year 20M deal with 7 million guaranteed.

7. Michael Lombardi of NFL Network is very close with Bill Belichick. His information is solid. He tweeted that the Patriots are close to a new deal with special teams ace Matthew Slater and are working a "few other deals." One of them was with special teamer Niko Koutouvides. His agent confirmed for me a one-year deal worth the veteran's minimum of 850,000.

8. As they look around their division, the Patriots can't feel awful about what they see happening at this week. Brandon Marshall got dealt out of Miami. He only lit the Patriots up for 13 catches and 282 yards in two meeting in 2011. The Jets' aborted run at Peyton Manning wound up in a "sorry about that" extension for Mark Sanchez that led to "Sanchise" talking about how his new deal reminded everyone he was a team leader. And the Bills are about to pour their money into Mario Williams - a helluva player but the massive contract he'll sign is going to put strain on the whole team.

9. The Matt Flynn situation is going to get interesting. He's talking to the Browns and Dolphins. But the Dolphins are in on Peyton Manning still along with three other teams - Denver, Tennessee and Arizona. Will Flynn wait to see what happens with Manning before making his decision? And will the Browns, knowing that might be the case, give Flynn any ultimatum about an expiration date on their offer? Manning's timetable is going to continue to be the biggest story during this free agent period after this initial rush.

10. If you're the Browns and are content to make a run at free agent Matt Flynn - he of two NFL starts - and likely make him a fat offer, wouldn't you want to also consider a run at Brian Hoyer? A restricted free agent who can be had for a smaller contract and a second-round pick if he's lured away from the Patriots, Hoyer as an option that makes fiscal sense to me.

OFFSEASON

Celtics take two in international players in record breaking NBA Draft

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Celtics take two in international players in record breaking NBA Draft

BOSTON –  The Boston Celtics turned quite a few heads when they used two of their three, first-round picks on International players.

They were part of a record-setting night for international players, with 15 being selected in the first round – the most ever in NBA history.

But like many international draft picks, it is far from a given that you’ll see either of Boston’s international first rounder picks Guershon Yabusele and Ante Zizic who were selected with the 16th and 23rd picks, respectively.

While it’s not uncommon for teams to draft international players in the first round and do so with the plan being to keep them overseas for another year or two, the potential hold-up for Boston’s two international picks has more to do with coming to terms on a buyout amount with their current teams.

“We’ve had initial discussions with their representatives,” said Danny Ainge, Boston’s president of basketball operations, when I asked him about it during the team’s press conference to introduce the newest Celtics on Friday. “We have not concluded anything yet. We’re still in that discussion. And I’m not sure about summer (league).”

While it remains an option, a league source told CSNNE.com that it’s unlikely that either player will participate in either of Boston’s summer league squads which will play in Salt Lake City and Las Vegas.

Ainge agrees that there are a number of positives one can take from drafting an overseas player in the first round.

But the decision by Boston to draft Yabusele and Zizic in the first round had a lot to do with one thing – talent.

“The reason that these two guys are here, … is because they’re good players,” Ainge said. “The fact that they have people that want them on their teams on the International top level competition, tells you how good players they are. They could easily find jobs overseas at the top level. They’ve earned that reputation. They’re both very productive. Guerson very productive and Ante very good rebounding … now we’re trying to figure out the best way they can help us for their development. We’re working with their representatives on that plan.”

Yabusele, a 6-8, 275-pound power forward, averaged 11.5 points, 6.8 rebounds in 28.7 minutes with Rouen Metropole Basket in the LNB Pro A league in France. While appearing in 34 games last season, he grabbed 10 or more rebounds 11 times while tallying eight double-doubles.

Zizic, a 6-11, 250-pound center, distinguished himself as one of the better players in the Adriatic League this past season. He was voted by fans, media and coaches as the Adriatic League’s Top Prospect after averaging 12.7 points, 7.2 rebounds and 1.2 blocks per game in 24.8 minutes while shooting an impressive 60.7 percent from the field.

Bruins need Hayes to "take his game to another level"

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Bruins need Hayes to "take his game to another level"

BUFFALO -- With it appearing that Loui Eriksson is all but gone from the Bruins with the July 1 opening of free agency around the corner, B’s general manager Don Sweeney must find a way to replace the second-leading point man from last year’s hockey club. With or without a suitable Eriksson replacement at right wing via trade or free agency, the Bruins will also need greater production from their returning wingers on the right side.

That means 20-year-old David Pastrnak needs to have a breakthrough season after the Bruins knocked away attempts to extract him in trade discussions for a top-4 defenseman, and Jimmy Hayes needs to rebound from a streaky, disappointing first season in Boston. The 6-foot-6 Hayes slumped to 13 goals and 29 points in 75 games, and was a team-worst minus-12 while going through long stretches where it was hard to even notice him on the ice.

His GM said that needs to change next season with the Bruins counting on him to play more consistently, and be willing to play the big man’s game.

“We have internal candidates that might have to step up, and David is a player like that…Jimmy is a player like that. There’s no question we’re not a complete team right now,” said Sweeney. “So we’ll go to work now, and that could be through free agency, or through potential trade stuff. It could also be about the excitement if somebody pops from the development side of things. I think Jimmy had a pretty start to the year, but he really tailed off when the team needed him most. He should take some responsibility for that. We had a pretty frank discussion about that to challenge him to take his game to another level, and be able to help out a younger player.

“He played a lot with Ryan Spooner. I have to put ownership on Jimmy in terms of saying ‘Hey, I have to take more responsibility. It’s not just about finishing and scoring goals.’ He has the capacity to do that. He gets power play time and net-front time, and he needs to get to the hard areas of the ice with more consistency. It’s an area that he needs to continue to improve upon. We as an organization feel that we need to have players that are driven to get better.”

As far as the free agent options mentioned by Sweeney, Kyle Okposo and Troy Brouwer would be names to watch closely as they both fight the Black and Gold mold of winger with size, strength and finishing ability.

Clearly there’s no choice but for the 26-year-old Hayes to have a bounce-back season given that he’s signed for two years in Boston at $2.3 million per season, and that they need him with the right side of their forward group in flux. 

Ray Bourque arrested and charged with OUI Friday

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Ray Bourque arrested and charged with OUI Friday

Bruins Hall of Fame defenseman Ray Bourque was arrested in Andover this weekend, and charged with operating under the influence of alcohol according to multiple reports.

Andover Police told CBS Boston that the former Bruins and Avalanche defenseman was taken into custody around 11:30 p.m. Friday night on Lowell Street. The Bruins legend has lived on the North Shore with his family since retiring from the NHL, and has been a constant presence in the community at charitable events and Bruins functions.

Bourque was released on bail. No additional information was immediately available